Detailed planning

Detailed planning

The devil is in the details, so goes the saying and this could not be more true for homeowners Jason Tan and Betty Wong.

Their home, a three-bedroom apartment in Bukit Timah, looks like a chic boutique hotel. And upon closer look, it is clear that a lot of careful considerations went into the design of the home, even down to the choice of finishing.

The couple were particular about their designer, and shortlisted Irene Ho from Edgeline Planners after meeting over 10 interior designers. They spent about $100,000 on the renovation.

The apartment's stylish appearance belies the fact that this is the home of a family with two young children, and that the family has been living here for two years - everything is so neat.

"Storage, lots and lots of it was one of our requirements," says Mr Tan, who handles regional procurement for a petroleum company.

With the two children, one in nursery and the other in primary school, the couple foresee that plenty of storage space will be needed to keep toys and school books and projects as the kids grow up.

"We told Irene that the storage must not look like storage space," says Ms Wong, a full-time mother.

Ms Ho designed cabinets to be flushed against the walls, so that no one will suspect that behind some "walls" are actually storage space. For example, by the dining room is a row of beige wooden panels with decorative wooden trimmings on it. They look like a feature wall, but are actually full height cupboards. They come in different depths depending on what the space will be used for. Wine glasses and espresso cups are stored in the cupboards with shallow shelves, while dry food items are kept in the deeper cupboards.

By the entrance are full-height cupboards for storing shoes and another meant for keeping umbrellas and other items such as sun block, raincoats and hats. "These items are kept nearest the door, so we can reach for them easily on our way out," says Ms Wong.

A storeroom has been converted into a study area, and fitted out with more cabinets, meant for keeping documents and the children's school projects. New cabinets and full-height cupboards were installed in the kitchen. The cupboard doors come without handles for a cleaner look, and they open 170 degrees rather than the conventional 90 degrees, for easier access.

The kitchen cupboards are lined with stainless steel to ensure they last longer. Drawers are fitted out with a system which allows them to be opened with a slight touch. Closing them requires just a gentle push. An avid cook, Mr Tan fitted a small BBQ grill onto the stove top, which he uses to grill steaks during the weekends.

There is a sliding glass window on the island bar counter, which helps keep cooking fumes out of the dining area. The children often have their breakfast at this counter. Ms Ho says installing the glass window was quite a feat for the contractors, as it is a large panel, and it had to slide in smoothly behind the fridge.

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